Frustration at progress of Welwyn Garden City Splashlands development
PUBLISHED: 14:52 04 July 2017
Welwyn Hatfield Council chiefs have denied they are dragging their heels over bringing a wet play area back to Stanborough Park, revealing they have received several offers from potential developers.
Lib Dem borough councillor Malcolm Cowan, who sits on a committee supervising efforts to restore the much-missed Splashlands attraction, which closed in the 1990s, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times he was frustrated at the lack of progress.
He said: “To call this progress snail-like is an insult to snails.
“We have waited years for something to replace the long-lost swimming pool at Stanborough and we keep getting promises.
“It is two years since I went to a meeting to narrow down future features to accompany the children’s splash area, but it appears no progress has been made.
“Last week, the Splashlands Procurement Board met, but the meeting was ended without a report to consider. It is now postponed, probably to late September.
“Another promising summer will drift pass with nothing to show. A lady told me recently there is nothing to make her bring her family to Stanborough.
“How sad is that?
“We remember when it was heaving with visitors from a wide area.”
But a council spokeswoman explained that officers were considering several commercial proposals submitted since a “market engagement day” just last month.
She said: “We invited specialist leisure providers to meet with us and discuss the development opportunity at Stanborough Park.
“Following the event, a number of proposals have been submitted and officers have asked for sufficient time to evaluate the options.
“A meeting to discuss the proposals and officers’ recommendations will be arranged as soon as possible.”
Roger Potter of Handside Lane, Welwyn Garden City, whose father Reginald ran Splashlands from 1948 to 1979, said: “I know a lot of people would be delighted to see it return, especially if it was something similar to the old sandpit and paddling area next to the river.
“A lot of friends tell me they remember it well, and were very sad when it was taken away from us.
“It was a wonderful recreation area.”